Almanack Contributor Diane Chase

Diane Chase

Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities guidebook series, Adirondack Family Time. She writes about ways to foster imaginative play through fun-filled events and activities in the Adirondack region.

From her home in Saranac Lake, Diane also writes a weekly family-oriented newspaper column for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and keeps her own blog Adirondack Family Time. Her writing and photography has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines, marketing companies and advertising agencies.

She even finds time to assist her husband with Adirondack Expeditions guiding families and young adults in the High Peaks.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Adirondack Food: Time for Strawberries, Festivals

strawberriesfromgarden2_newThough we have had more rain than sun over the last few days, strawberries are starting to ripen and pick-your-own fields are planning on opening to the public over the next couple of weeks. Festivals are set to gesture in summer with all things strawberry. Rulf’s Orchard in Peru is holding their 2nd annual Strawberry Festival on June 29 with a petting zoo, vendors, strawberry shortcake eating contest and wagon rides to the U-Pick patch. Raquette Lake is whipping up fresh strawberry shortcake while Crown Point will host its 9th annual celebration of those delicious red berries.

According to Alexandra Roalsvig, Director of Parks and Recreation for the Town of Long Lake, the June 29th Raquette Lake Strawberry Festival is an opportunity for locals and visitors coming to the area to connect with summer friends, while supporting a worthy cause. The summertime dessert will be served starting at 11 a.m. at the Raquette Lake Fire Hall. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Father’s Day Weekend at Kate Mountain Music Fest

969443_534147843288015_269868549_nThough there are plenty of activities and reasons to get outside this Father’s Day weekend, the Kate Mountain Music Festival and BBQ is one opportunity to put some spring in your step.

On Saturday, June 15, Vermontville is bringing a buffet of musical talent to the Fourth Annual Kate Mountain Music Festival. With vendors, children’s games, and silent auction starting at 10 am, the musical talent will kick off at noon with blues guitarist Chaz DePaolo.

Organized by the Kate Mountain Community Recreation Association (KMCRA), the Kate Mountain Music Festival’s focus is to provide a place for families to spend some quality time together. According to Founder and President of KMCRA Derrick Romeo the goal is to bring back old-fashioned family time. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Hill and Hollow Music in the Town of Saranac

Johannes Quartet_John EldridgeIn its 20-year history, Saranac’s Hill and Hollow Music has brought over 100 professional chamber music ensembles to the Adirondacks. Their community outreach has included over 1,250 presentations in schools, churches, senior residences and community centers. For founders Angela Brown and Kellum Smith the vision has grown to include a year-round Rural Retreat Program for professional musicians and the Northern Adirondack Vocal Ensemble (NAVE).

NAVE debuted in December 2011 and currently Conductor Drew Benware continues to work with Hill and Hollow to fill a distinct niche with this a cappella choir. According to Brown, by keeping this vocal ensemble small, NAVE is able to focus on a musical repertoire that enhances the goals of Hill and Hollow. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Adirondack Coast Cultural Alliance Free Museum Weekend

cvtm_newFor the 6th year, the Adirondack Coast Cultural Alliance (ACCA) has organized free admission to 14 participating museums, cultural centers and historical societies for the first weekend in June.

The Champlain Valley Transportation Museum’s Director and Fundraising and Membership Lisa Fountain says, “This weekend our Kids Station will be open on Saturday only. We will have crafts for parents and children to do together. This year we have our Robotics coach Justin Collins here with a robot demonstration. Kids can test the robot and play with it. Justin runs our Robotics Camp in the summer. He will be available to answer any questions regarding the camp.” » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Adirondack Wildlife: Be Careful of Roadside Moose

Screen shot 2013-05-21 at 3.00.40 PMI don’t usually count the first time I saw a moose because I didn’t know what it was. My previous experience with antlered animals was completely defined by Saturday morning cartoons.

The strange animal that crossed the highway in front of my car, looked nothing like the moose I knew, with its easily identifiable antlers. That first experience was cut short due to an impatient driver who chose to pull around me into oncoming traffic, narrowly missing the female moose. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Adirondack Paddlefest in Old Forge This Weekend

PF.beach01.lgAfter a week of frost warnings and even snow flurries, the weekend temperatures are due to ease into the sixties and just in time for the Adirondack Paddlefest. In its 15th year, the Adirondack Paddlefest will host paddling presentations, test paddles, on-water canoe and kayak sales, demos, clinics, food and entertainment this Friday – Sunday, May 17-19 in Old Forge. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Planting Milkweed for Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day doesn’t just have to be about getting a bouquet of flowers and box of candy, though I am a huge supporter of both, it is more about celebrating the mother figure in your life.  It can be as simple as a packet of seeds to start in a windowsill garden or as complex as a family reunion.

My kids know that one way to make me happy is for someone to try to bring more native species to our garden. Last year my gift was the relocation of the wild violets to a hill before the contractor ground them to bits. I can look out my window and see the bright blue, purple and yellow heads just starting to poke out of the grass. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

High Falls Gorge Beer and Wine Bar Opening

HIghFallsGlassFloor_newHigh Falls Gorge is once again open for the season after a brief bout of April spring-cleaning. The year-round waterfall attraction in Wilmington uses the months of April and November to switch gears between winter snowshoeing and summer walks. Along with the waterfall walks, this Saturday marks the grand opening of the River View Café Beer and Wine Bar.

President and Owner of High Falls Gorge Kathryn Reiss says, “We wanted to have a beer and wine café available to allow visitors a chance to slow down and relax. It is located right near the existing seating area. The kids can do the inside mining activity while parents shop or relax with a local beer.”

Reiss has deliberately chosen to stock the River View Café with local craft beer as well as New York State wines and cheeses. For her it’s a matter of pride. She looks forward to adding wine tasting events to the schedule, but for now the beer and wine bar will only be open during the High Falls Gorge’s regular business hours. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Adirondack Family Activities: A Free Showing of Lincoln

lincoln_legal 2The Champlain Valley Film Society is going to spend its 10th anniversary this Saturday, April 27 with an Oscar-nominated film. After screening almost 170 films since its inception in 2003, The Film Society is thanking audience members with a free showing of Daniel Day-Lewis’s Oscar winning performance in Lincoln.

Founded by Larry Barns, Thurston Clarke, Bill James and David Reuther, the Champlain Valley Film Society has grown from an infrequent outdoor movie experience to a nonprofit, monthly art house cinema from fall to spring.

The four men found that the closest theatre experience was the Plattsburgh area, which wasn’t always showing films they wished to see. Burlington was too far so they joined forces to bring current, classic, foreign and independent films to the Champlain Valley. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Adirondack Family Activities: Asgaard Farm Kidding Season

AsgaardFarmsKids_newSigns of spring are finally starting to surround us with songbirds arriving and bulbs pushing their way through the ground. At Asgaard Farm and Dairy, owners Rhonda Butler and David Brunner, have a different barometer for measuring the change of seasons. Since mid March about 75 baby goats (kids) have been born with more due in the upcoming week.

When I visited last year I spoke with owner Rhonda Butler at length about the spring births and was delighted to find out there are many opportunities to visit the kids and even attend a birth. The goats at Asgaard are bred through their natural cycle. Though larger dairies use artificial light to manipulate the goats to breed off-season, Asgaard continues to follow the natural season. The doelings (mother goats) are bred in the fall and give birth in the spring with the kids drinking the doeling’s milk. After being weaned, Asgaard Farm uses the milk for their various cheeses and goat milk soaps. Some of the kids are culled after the season and harvested for their meat to produce Chevon or sold as pets or to other working farms. Asgaard maintains a milking herd of about 50 goats that are expected to produce about 100 kids. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Adirondack Family Activities:
A Living-Able Performance of HONK in Long Lake

FrogandToadThere are many ways to celebrate spring in the Adirondacks. After boiling the last of our backyard maple sap my family looks for ways to relax and appreciate the change of seasons. One way is to catch a local art exhibit at one of the many arts organizations around the Adirondacks. Of course, there is still snow on the trails and even Gore and Whiteface will be open for the weekend to get that spring ski rush.

Part of the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts (Arts Center) in Blue Mountain Lake Living-Able Series, regional actors, Long Lake Central School students and adults with disabilities from Sunmount DDSO present a musical performance of HONK this April 13-14. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Adirondack Family Activities: Climbing at The Crux

6806_558363347541571_694676152_nThough we have spent most of our time getting out on the various Adirondack trails, my family needs to start working a different muscle group. Our legs are strong, but our arms are in need of a different workout. Though there is still plenty of snow around the Adirondacks, there are other activities that we are able to enjoy. One is getting into rock climbing shape at an indoor climbing wall.

The Crux, in Willsboro, offers the novice and expert a great place to burn off some steam while getting into climbing shape. Under the auspiciousness of Pok-O-MacCready Outdoor Education Center, The Crux is open from mid-October through mid-May. According to the Outdoor Education Center Director Brian DeGroat The Crux’s availability is tailored to accommodate everyone wanting to maintain or improve their skills without climbing outdoors. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Adirondack Family Activities: Pendragon’s Summer Season

fleurdisliscoverMy family enjoys going to the theatre as much as we enjoy hitting the trails. Thankfully because of the many wonderful Adirondack seasonal theatre companies we never have too far to travel to get our summer theatre fix. There is no need to drive to the ends of the Park in the other months thanks to Pendragon Theatre in Saranac Lake. As the Adirondack’s only year-round professional theatre, Pendragon has been bringing live theatre to the Adirondacks for over 30 years.  This year Pendragon Theatre has chosen the theme of “Saints and Sinners” for the upcoming 2013 season.

Pendragon’s new Executive/Artist Director Karen Lordi-Kirkham  says, “This is the first season that I’ve chosen the plays. The theme began with the fact that A Street Car Named Desire was the first play Pendragon produced. I wanted this to be a tribute to Bob and Susan. Everything else came together and followed the Saints and Sinners theme.” » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Adirondack Family Activities: NYS Maple Weekends

Sap-DripThere are a variety of places that a person can visit to see maple sap collected, especially this weekend (March 23-24) as maple producers join together for the second of two New York State Maple Producers Association Maple Weekends.

According to New York State Maple Producers Association President Dwayne Hill, the organization has grown to 575 members and helps to educate the public about the production of maple products. Hill stresses the importance of increasing the number of maple producers in New York State. He sees the world dependence on maple products rising, which he believes is partially due to maple being a natural sweetener. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Adirondack Family Activities: Irish Road Bowling

100_0847Getting ready to go green takes on a new meaning as Indian Lake celebrates St Patrick’s Day with a weekend full of activities. With doggie struts and hat parades, there is a wide range of events to make celebrating St. Patrick’s Day a weekend to remember.

“We’ve been hosting this event since 2006, making it our seventh year,” says Vonnie Liddle Indian Lake Events/Activities Coordinator. “The Hat Parade starts everything off. It is now tied into the PARP program (Parents as Reading Partners) so we have an unofficial theme this year of magic. The school children are given a hat and have to decorate it according to the theme.”

Liddle is quick to say that the parade is open to anyone with a hat and not everyone follows the PARP theme. It is really about getting people outside and having fun. » Continue Reading.